The 10 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Good for sanitizing your home or office without using any harsh chemicals, these handheld steam cleaners are versatile tools for your cleaning arsenal. They can disinfect tile, porcelain, and other hard surfaces, as well as remove wrinkles in clothing and eliminate bed mites. But you'll need to be attentive, as hot steam and water can cause burns if these are not used carefully. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 30, 2020:
Handheld steamers let you clean and disinfect without the use of buckets and chemicals. They are suitable for multiple tasks, and work on a variety of surfaces.
We removed underperformers like the MLMLANT Pressurized and the Light ‘N’ Easy GS700. The list was expanded to include newly released contenders like the Dr. Purifier 10-in-1 and the KoMeryic Multi-Surface. We also added popular options like the Mosche Pressurized steamer.
When deciding which handheld steam cleaner is best suited for your needs, pay attention to the tank size, warm-up time, and working time. Also consider the accessories that come with the unit, the cord length, and safety features. Most of the models on this list come with additional attachments for safe cleaning and scrubbing. In fact, the Valemo Home VH-ST10 includes a storage bag to keep its 10 accessories in one place.
If you’re looking for a unit that can get into grimy places and still allow you to keep your distance, a steamer with a long extension hose like the Comforday Multi-Purpose is a good option. The unit also comes with a rotating nozzle to clear away muck from tight spaces. For large jobs, the KoMeryic Multi-Surface features a 400-millimeter tank that provides 15 to 20 minutes of consecutive steam. It comes equipped with a towel sleeve, a window cleaning tool, and a brush attachment for deep cleaning.
November 13, 2019:
Unfortunately, at this time, several models have been discontinued, including some from big names, so we have removed them. We also opted to remove the Steamfast SF-210 and DB Tech Handheld. The former suffers from some durability issues, while the latter can occasionally leak water near its cord, which can be dangerous. While this isn't guaranteed to happen to everyone who uses it, the risk is worrisome nevertheless.
Fans of the PurSteam brand will be happy note, though, that we have kept the PurSteam Multi-Surface and added the PurSteam ThermaPro 10-in-1. The ThermaPro is more than just a handheld steamer, since it functions as a steam mop, as well. This makes it a good choice for bustling, messy households. We also selected the Vapamore MR-75 Amico. Unlike many, it has a lifetime warranty and is powerful despite its size. The design is rather attractive, too, if that should be important to you. But it is definitely more expensive than most similar options. If the budget is a concern, the Bissell Steam Shot remains a good alternative.
Poulan Pro PP230 One drawback to many units is their trigger positioning, but this isn't a problem for the Poulan Pro PP230. Its trigger is thoughtfully placed and is even lockable, a nice touch for continuous steam you can count on. You'll get plenty of accessories with it, including a storage tote that makes transport a breeze. poulanprosteam.com
Benefits Of Steam Cleaning
The first big benefit steam cleaners have is that they sanitize the area that you're working on.
If you're still cleaning your home with a spray bottle and paper towels, or using a mop to try to see your reflection in your floors, you're living in the Stone Age. While you're spraying those caustic chemicals all over your counters, how can you be sure you're not getting any on your food? And when you mop, did you know you're spreading bacteria all over your floor with every pass?
But fear not, for if traditional cleaning is the Stone Age, then steam cleaners are...whatever came after the Stone Age. These handheld devices can be vastly superior to the outdated cleaning methods you've relied on in the past, and once you've tried one, you'll likely never go back.
The first big benefit steam cleaners have is that they sanitize the area that you're working on. The blasts of steam can kill bacteria on contact, ensuring that your surfaces are actually clean instead of just looking like it. This is especially true for cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach places. With a steam cleaner, you can make those areas sparkle, without having to use too much elbow grease.
If you suffer from allergies, then a steam cleaner is practically a must-own. These devices can vaporize allergens and other contaminants on contact, rather than just moving them to a different part of your house. Dust mites are especially vulnerable to hot blasts, so you can exterminate those little cooties with a vengeance.
Additionally, you'll save money with a steam cleaner since you won't need to buy cleaning products. That's also better for the environment, as many of the chemicals used in household cleaning can be full of pollutants. If you have pets or small children in the house, you won't have to worry about them accidentally ingesting anything nasty, either.
The best part, however? No more back-breaking labor. Simply wave your steam cleaner like a magic wand, make a quick swipe with a rag, and the dirt and grime will disappear. You'll feel how David Copperfield must feel when he cleans his house.
How Does Steam Cleaning Work?
A steam cleaner is actually a pretty simple machine. Shaped like a small handheld vacuum cleaner, it has a boiler on the inside that heats water up to 360°F to produce dry steam that's only about 6 percent water.
You can also use detergent with your steam cleaner if you so desire, although that kind of defeats the purpose of going chemical-free.
You simply point the nozzle at the area you want to clean, which directs a blast of hot steam at it. This steam penetrates porous materials like grout, getting down deep in there where your rag couldn't hope to reach. It loosens up dirt and grime, allowing it to be easily removed, while simultaneously vaporizing microbes and bacteria.
Many cleaners have towels or brushes at the end of the nozzle to wipe up the debris as it gets broken up, or you can simply use a cloth after steaming the area. Of course, if you prefer, you can leave the surface to air-dry. Some also have vacuum attachments that will suck up all that crud as you go. This is more commonly seen on the deep steam cleaners that you rent for intensive carpet cleaning, however.
You can also use detergent with your steam cleaner if you so desire, although that kind of defeats the purpose of going chemical-free. Still, it's better for you and the environment than most spray cleaners, so, if it makes you feel better, go for it.
Steam cleaners work on just about any surface, provided that it's not sensitive to heat. That means one little machine can be all you need to clean your kitchen, carpet, and upholstery. Be sure to check or spot-test before you go crazy with the steamer, though, so that you don't cause any permanent damage.
Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Steam Cleaner
Just having a steam cleaner doesn't make you a true cleaning ninja. No, like all great warriors, you must know how to wield your sword.
Surfaces like vinyl and treated wood should be done quickly, without lingering.
The first thing, as mentioned, is to know which surfaces aren't suitable for steam cleaning. Freshly painted surfaces should be avoided, and many people think you shouldn't steam anything if it's been painted. However, others are firm believers in steam cleaning walls. Whichever you choose, just be careful. Surfaces like vinyl and treated wood should be done quickly, without lingering.
Steamers are great for cleaning things that you know need it, but that you'll always procrastinate to avoid. Take a day every few months and target those areas in particular. Dusty ceiling fans, grungy showers, and dust mite-filled mattresses are all prime targets for a good steaming. You can even go after some of the nastiest parts of your home, like cat litter boxes and baby-changing areas.
Of course, this likely goes without saying, but be careful when using your cleaner. As it turns out, steam is hot! Accidentally blasting yourself or someone else could be painful, so pay attention to what you're doing.
Once you've gotten the hang of using your steamer, you'll be amazed at how clean your house can be — and how easy it can be to make it that way. You might even start to look forward to cleaning!